Director embezzled $234k from workers' salaries, causing them to stop work

Workers of a repair and maintenance company stopped work in August 2011 over unpaid wages amounting to nearly $234,000 - only to find out that a company director had pocketed the money.

A district court sentenced Tan Kim Wah 53, to 18 months in jail on Friday. He had pleaded guilty to committing criminal breach of trust of the $233,900.

He was then a director and shareholder of Vigour Technologies. The company was in ship repair and also provided engineering services and maintenance for industrial plants.

The firm was the resident contractor of Jurong Shipyard and Tan was in charge of operations and payroll. However, he did not pay 106 workers their full wages for October and November 2010, and March 2011.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kung Yong Jin said the workers stopped work at the shipyard in August 2011. Several of them also took their grievances to the Ministry of Manpower and its investigation uncovered Tan's misdeeds.

Tan made full restitution of the amount he embezzled after selling his Housing Board flat in November 2010. He and his wife, a waitress, have moved into his brother's house, said defence counsel Toh Peng Ann.

khush@sph.com.sg